Looking for the best garage door opener to reduce headaches rather than adding to them? A quality garage opener runs so smoothly that you'll barely notice it's there.
As a bonus, modern garage door openers often come with a host of features that enhance your life in ways you may not have even considered.
What Are Garage Door Openers?
Garage door openers are just what they sound like. They open and close your garage door so that you don't have to yank on it with a rope or handle. Imagine how much time you'll save in your life because of this simple mechanism!
Utilizing a motor, a carriage moves along the center rail attached to the ceiling of your garage. As it does this, it pulls a metal arm connected to the garage door.
Along the sides of the garage door, wheels roll along tracks. These are necessary for evenly distributing the weight of the garage door.
There's also a large spring connected to a horizontal bar to assist with this as well. These are called the torsion spring and torsion bar.
What Kinds of Garage Door Openers Are There?
Exactly how the motor pulls the carriage depends on the drive that the garage door opener uses. Each has its own distinct pros and cons.
Screw drives work by rotating a threaded steel rod to pull the carriage. Since these openers contain fewer parts, maintaining them is less complicated than other kinds of drives.
However, plastic components in the carriage and motor will eventually wear down and need replacing. Additionally, these drives are more prone to breaking down in regions with drastic shifts in outdoor temperatures throughout the year.
These drives are not capable of holding as much weight as others. And, although companies have improved upon them in recent years, these are still one of the noisiest drives available.
On the other hand, they run much faster than other drives. Still, we're talking about the difference of a few seconds, so we wouldn't recommend them for the best garage door opener.
These are the cheapest openers available.
With chain drives, a metal chain similar to what you would find on a bicycle rotates around gears in the motor and carriage to move the carriage along.
Chain drives can be very noisy for any room directly above the garage, although newer models are quieter. It shouldn't be an issue if you have a detached garage.
This type of drive can also hold more weight than a screw-drive model.
Additionally, they are easier to repair than belt drives, although they are slightly less reliable. The most common issue is with the chain becoming loose or jumping off the rail. Some plastic parts will also need replacing every so often.
Chain drives are cheaper than direct drives and belts.
Belt drives are similar to chain drives, but they're made from polyurethane, steel-reinforced rubber, or similar materials.
The main advantage of these drives is that they are much quieter than screw or chain drives.
They're also more likely to come with special features.
On the other hand, belt drives are quite complicated to repair when something goes awry. Thankfully, this doesn't happen often.
Direct drives work differently from others. Instead of indirectly pulling a carriage with a rod, chain, or belt, these drives are essentially their own carriage.
That is, the motor pulls itself along, opening and closing the garage door as it does so. Instead of being on a center rail, these can use either of the side tracks. This frees up space on the ceiling for anything else you might want to hang.
Since these drives have fewer moving parts, they are even quieter than belt drives. They're also easier to maintain.
However, these drives are costly.
What Horsepower Does My Garage Door Opener Need?
The size of your garage door affects the amount of horsepower your opener requires.
A 0.5-horsepower motor can handle heavy single-car doors and the average two-car doors.
For wooden or insulated two-car doors, buy an opener with at least 0.75-horsepower.
If your door is significantly larger than 16 feet by 8 feet, you'll probably want an opener with 1.0 horsepower or more.
Springing for a little extra horsepower can be worth it for peace of mind. However, remember that lower horsepower models use less energy.
What Features Should the Best Garage Door Opener Have?
Openers can have a wide range of different features with varying levels of usefulness. Some of them you may consider absolutely necessary. Others might be a tiebreaker between otherwise equal choices.
Chamberlain models typically have the most features. However, Genie sells a controller that provides many of the same functions to almost any opener.
That being said, here are a couple of examples:
One feature we highly recommend is rolling code technology. This prevents hackers from breaking into your house by routinely scrambling the digital code needed to activate your opener. A set code can be eventually broken, so having it change automatically is a good idea.
Having lights on your garage door opener that turn on automatically when the door is open makes it easier for you to see as you pull in and out.
You can also easily look out of a window to see if there's light coming from the garage as a way to check that it's closed.
Finally, lights may discourage intruders from entering through your garage.
How We Reviewed
Shopping for a garage door opener isn't like buying a laptop or television set. You can't scan through the technical specs and expect to have an accurate sense of how well an opener operates.
The only way to know if it's the best garage door opener for you is by analyzing what other people say about them. If this sounds tedious, that's because it is.
But don't worry, we did the work for you. We also consulted other professional reviews to see what they think.
It's worth noting that many of the negative reviews are from customers who probably didn't do enough research before buying. Always check to make sure the opener works well with the size and weight of your garage door.
The Best Garage Door Opener: Top 7 Models
Are you ready to find out which is the best garage door opener? Here are our top seven choices:
1.) Chamberlain Group RJO20 Direct Drive
- The wall mount garage opener mounts discretely on the wall next to the garage door, increasing the functional space in...
- The included automatic garage door lock secures your door every time it closes, so you always know that your home is...
- Unique wall-mounting system eliminates vibrations through the ceiling for nearly silent operation
The Chamberlain RJ020 is a direct-drive model. Its simplicity and compactness put it in the running for the best garage door opener.
Before buying this opener, you'll want to make sure you have at least 7 inches of space between the torsion bar and the wall on the side you plan to install it. You also need 3 inches above the torsion bar.
Direct drives do not use horsepower as a measurement. However, according to Chamberlain, it's the equivalent of 0.75 horsepower.
This Chamberlain model features an automatic deadbolt lock and lights. It also has an automatic timer that will close the door if it's left open.
In addition, you can control everything via a smartphone app. The app even lets you know when the door opens and closes so you can feel secure when you're away.
Another nifty feature is the ability to allow Amazon packages to be delivered straight into your garage with a temporary key.
Customers rate this model 4.2 out of 5.0 stars on average.
2.) Chamberlain B980
- The B980 security bundle combines all of our top security features. The included automatic garage door lock secures your...
- Our quiet DC belt drive opener has built in Wi-Fi , for the easiest way to connect the opener, and myq technology, for...
- Eliminates vibrations the home with our quietest DC belt drive opener
The Chamberlain B980 is a belt-drive model that is significantly cheaper than the RJ020, although it's still expensive.
For those who prefer strength and functionality over compactness, this could be the best garage door opener.
Like the other opener, this one also has an automatic deadbolt, lights, and a smartphone app. You can even receive packages in the same way. Plus, it's silent enough that noise should never be an issue.
Additionally, the Chamberlain B980 has encryption technology with over 100 billion codes. We're not saying the RJ020 doesn't have this, but Chamberlain doesn't advertise it that way.
This opener also has a horsepower of 1.25, which offers a high lifting force that will easily lift any garage door. It should even work in freezing conditions.
It also has a backup battery in case of power outages, so you'll never need to worry about your door not opening.
Finally, this model is extremely durable. Depending on how often you use your garage door, it could be years before it needs maintenance.
Customers rate this model 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on average.
3.) Chamberlain C410
- Powered by Chamberlain’s MED Lift Power System, the C410 delivers the highest lifting force equivalent capacity...
- Durable chain drive rugged steel construction with precision fabrication for reliable performance, use after use
- Superior Range Includes 2 3 button remote controls that let you control up to 3 openers; Exclusive Triband technology...
If all you want is a strong, reliable opener for an affordable price, then the Chamberlain C410 might be the best garage door opener for you.
This model has 0.5 horsepower, which means you shouldn't use it with anything heavier than a steel two-car garage door.
This chain-drive opener does away with the fancy frills and goes back to basics. Let's face it, an app for opening your garage really isn't necessary. So why pay extra for something if it doesn't excite you?
What the C410 does have is high-security features and a snaplock chain system that's easy to set up and maintain.
Customers rate this model 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on average.
4.) Genie SilentMax 1200
- ULTRA-QUIET OPERATION: The SilentMax 1200 is an ideal garage door opener for garages attached to living spaces.
- POWERFUL AND SMOOTH OPERATION: The powerful 140V DC motor features a soft start and stop control for smooth door travel.
- FAST AND EASY INSTALLATION: With no additional hardware required for assembly, the c-channel rail makes for faster,...
As you might expect, the Genie SilentMax 1200 is very quiet. If you must have silence but want to save money, then this is probably the best garage door opener for you.
Its smooth start and stop technology reduces wear and tear from jerky movements, and also cuts back on noise. The steel-reinforced rubber is also quite durable.
With a 0.75-horsepower motor, this opener is capable of lifting fairly heavy garage doors with ease.
Last but not least, the SilentMax 1200 uses Genie's version of the rolling code technology for increased security against hacking.
Customers rate this model 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on average.
5.) Sommer 1052V000
- Direct Drive Technology utilizes a traveling motor that pulls itself along a fixed chain. Less moving parts equal better...
- 800 Newton DC Motor (1 HP equivalent) rated for doors up to 1,200 lbs. counterbalanced weight.
- 3-Piece C-Channel rail included in the box works on doors up to 8' tall. Rail extensions may be added for taller doors.
The Sommer 1052V000 is a powerful direct-drive motor that can quietly lift heavy garage doors for an affordable price. This is the best garage door opener for people who want the compactness of a direct drive, without the bonus features.
Free up ceiling space for lights, fans, or whatever else your heart desires.
With rolling code technology, you can rest easy knowing your opener is secure.
Customers rate this model 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on average.
6.) Chamberlain B550
- Smart garage door opener comes with built-in myQ technology to keep you connected and protected: Open, close, and know...
- Ultra-Quiet & Strong Belt Drive: Steel-reinforced belt drive and constructed with high-grade materials for years of...
- Powered by Chamberlain’s MED Lift Power System, the B550 delivers the highest lifting force equivalent capacity...
The Chamberlain B550 is a cheaper alternative to the B980, and can easily lift up to 300 pounds. If you have an average-sized door, this belt-drive model might be the best garage door opener for you.
This Chamberlain model comes with all the perks the brand offers. That includes the smartphone app, which lets you control the opener and track when the door opens and closes. You can also use it to let Amazon delivery people into your garage.
The steel-reinforced belt is silent and durable. It will open and close your garage door smoothly for years to come.
Finally, the 100 billion code encryption technology ensures that no one gets in unless you want them to.
Note that, unlike the B980, this model doesn't come with a backup battery for power outages.
Customers rate this model 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on average.
7.) Genie ChainMax 1000
- RELIABLE AND QUIET: Traditional, dependable chain drive system offers value and quiet performance with minimal...
- SMOOTH OPERATION: 140-volt DC motor operates with soft start and stop control for easier installation and smoother door...
- SLEEK AND CLEAN: Premium reinforced low-profile c-channel rail protects against dirt and debris buildup with...
The Genie ChainMax 1000 is a reliable chain-drive model for a great price. Its 0.75-horsepower motor is strong enough for most garage doors.
This may be the best garage door opener for simplicity of setup and maintenance. It's also quiet for a chain drive because of Genie's smooth start-and-stop technology.
Genie also takes extra measures to protect the chain from dust and debris. This should mean less maintenance overall. And when it does require work, chain drives are easier to fix than belt drives.
Finally, ChainMax 1000 uses rolling code technology for increased security.
Customers rate this model 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on average.
The Best Garage Door Opener
Only you can decide which is the best garage door opener for you. Obviously, you can rule out options that don't have the horsepower you require.
For smooth and silent openings and closing, go for a direct-drive or belt-drive model. Belts are the cheaper option, but direct-drive openers save on space and are simpler in design.
While chain-drive openers might be too loud for some, you can save a lot of money if you have a detached garage or don't mind the noise.
Bonus features like smartphone apps, automatic locks, and security lights are definitely nice to have but add to the cost.
Which features do you think are most important in the best garage door opener? What's your drive preference? Let us know in the comments below!
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Last update on 2021-08-05 at 08:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API